Monthly Archives: September 2015

Off duty!

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Off duty!

Today marks the the first day of my two week holiday, holiday from motherhood that is. I’m officially off duty! My kids have gone on their annual dad and son trip to the country with a number of other dads and sons. I have mixed feelings about these trips because while they allow me a bit of rest and time alone with MrZ, I do miss the kids and I worry about them too. 

The property they go to is quite remote, it’s a two hour drive to the nearest hospital and the nearest town isn’t much closer. They take off road bikes but luckily they no longer take quad bikes. Quad bikes are quite dangerous and my ex shattered his knee coming off one a few trips ago. Each year someone always seems to end up going to hospital for some reason or another. The adults do a bit of hunting of wild pigs and roos while they’re there too, and while I know they are a pest to the farmers and there is valid support for culling, I just can’t bring myself to be a supporter of it. Nor can I stand the thought of my kids holding guns.

I worry less now that the boys are older although in past years the stress would overwhelm me and typically I would have a shingles outbreak. I know they really enjoy these trips, that it’s an opportunity to lean independence and life skills, and they’re old enough to look after themselves a bit more now which is a good thing because I gather that the adults get drunk every night. I also have support now (in the form of MrZ who has come a long way and actually knew to hug me rather than reason with me when I burst into tears this morning), so these days I don’t get shingles, I tend to just get a few digestive issues. 

Given all this it is really important for me to plan lots of distractions for while they are away, because it is far too easy for me to curl into a little ball and spend most of the time hibernating in bed. Today I woke to rain and a breakfast in bed treat, leading to a lazy morning and late start which unfortunately meant that I missed my opportunity this weekend to join the local gym. I learned when I arrived at the door that the office closed at midday today and opens again on Monday (what a shame). I did go and do a bit of shopping though and managed to pick up a few pretty summer bargains. Change room trauma solidified my resolve to join the gym though and also was the final push I needed to commit to a few days of juicing, which saw me stop by the local market on the way home and buy enough fruit and greens to start my own store.

Before I go though I’ll leave you with a photo of my two budding Crusty Demons, just because I need more trauma 🙂 Enjoy your weekend.

  

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My message to the broken

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My message to the broken

I read so many blogs where people are lost and struggling, having found themselves dazed and bewildered at rock bottom, the same place I found myself many years ago. My blog is very new so I haven’t gone into much of my past yet, but trust me I have been there, and as someone who has been there this is what I would like to say:

It sucks. Where you are right now definitely sucks, but finding yourself at rock bottom can be a gift because there is no better place to learn life’s lessons and develop life skills than where you are right now. Take time to look at how you got there (it is NOT a punishment), take time to work out what life is trying to teach you because when you come out the other side what you learn right now will benefit you for the rest of your life.

Life will always throw obstacles at you, there will always be challenges, but what you learn when you build yourself back up is that there is nothing that will stop you, you will get through this and you will laugh and love again. You may need to close your heart for a while to heal, but don’t forget to open it back up again when you are stronger because that is where a lot of life’s gifts are, and you will be strong enough to deal with all the challenges love brings because you’ve been there, rock bottom, and you came out the other side and you will again.

Take time to develop, love and nurture yourself, because self belief is a wonderful thing, it opens the world and it’s infinite possibilities to you. You can’t give effectively to other people if you are not giving enough to yourself first. Inner strength is like a muscle, you exercise it to grow stronger, so set yourself challenges, you’ll gain confidence every time you overcome them. Start small – set yourself up to succeed not to fail!

When you fall get back up, dust yourself off and keep going. Expect set-backs, it’s normal, everyone has them, just don’t let yourself be derailed by them, view them as another opportunity to build that inner strength, and that’s something to be grateful for.

Risk making a mistake, it’s another opportunity to learn. When you learn you develop wisdom, who wouldn’t want that? Nurture yourself and be kind to yourself. No-one is perfect, why should you be?

Know the difference between love and dependence and be careful who you admire. Choose good role models and remember that inner strength and inner beauty far outweigh external beauty, there’s just no comparison. 

Finally, when you have healed, and are that amazing, wise, strong person as a result, don’t forget what it felt like and extend kindness to others that find themselves there, they need it.

When misfortune is a really gift in disguise

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When misfortune is a really gift in disguise

I was ready a little early this morning and thought I could make the early train, so I ran down the stairs and asked MrZ, “Run me to the station?”. “Sure, hop in”, he said, unlocking the car and then meandering back up the stairs to check I’d turned the grill off after making Master13 breakfast. Oh no, oh no, I thought, I asked him to drive me so I could get there quicker! Sure enough as we were pulling in to the station so was the train, “Run!” he said, “No!” I replied, picking up my textbook ladened bag and looking at all the stairs. Suddenly I had 20 minutes to fill.

My day is so often hectic, from the time I get up in the morning until the time I go to sleep, that it took me a moment to adjust to the idea that I now had 20 minutes to do nothing. I wandered down the street to get a coffee and came back to the station to sit in the spring sunshine. I have been reassessing my life lately and one of my conclusions as a result is that I need to practice more mindfulness and to find more time in the day to sit and just be, even if it is at my desk or on the train, or five minutes on the lounge while the kids are otherwise entertained. For years I wanted to get back into a meditation routine but never seemed to find the time more than once or twice after a renewed resolution, but that’s just the way life is when you are a working mother, it’s busy and time is scarce, particularly time for yourself, and focusing on the lack of it just makes everything worse. 

Finally I realised that I had been setting myself up to fail with my perfectionist “all or nothing” attitude. If something hasn’t been working for so long it’s time to take another look at it. Instead of aiming for several 20 minute sessions of uninterrupted meditation time a week, I now take time wherever I can to close my eyes and clear my mind, or if I think I might look odd with my eyes closed I focus on a nearby object (like my phone). I used to find my intuition was heightened when I did yoga on a regular basis the same way as if I was meditating regularly, (yoga being a form of waking, moving mediation), so this “imperfect” form of meditating is surely better than nothing. It’s an opportunity to still my mind and just be, bringing more peace to my life, quiet to my mind and creating opportunities for the universe to whisper its soft messages into my ear and actually be heard.

So this morning, instead of being frustrated that I just missed my train, I was reassured that the universe is hearing me and responded by giving me an opportunity to do exactly what I have been setting my intentions to do, and I sat and enjoyed my 20 minutes of sunshine with gratitude. It’s supposed to turn cold again tomorrow, wasn’t the timing perfect?

Exploring my own backyard 

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The weather was beautiful today, more like summer than the start of spring, motivating me to ditch the housework and spend time outdoors. After a bike ride with Master10 I set off with the camera to explore my own backyard…
   
    
    
    
 

Moves to stop the dance floor

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Moves to stop the dance floor

Master10 went to his first disco at the new school last night. When MrZ heard this was happening he became quite animated; there is always a lot of mucking around and banter between those two to my great entertainment. Insisting that he has some great dance moves that Master10 must absolutely learn MrZ jumped up to demonstrate “start the mower” and “feed the chickens”. Before too long the two of them were dancing about the living room ridiculously as I looked on, both laughing and cringing at the same time.

Master10 went to the disco with a friend and when he arrived back home we questioned him as to how it went, MrZ asking specifically if he had stopped the floor with his new found dance moves. Yes, he’d showed them, Master10 told us after a moments hesitation, all the boys caught on quickly and were doing it all around the dance floor. This sent MrZ into fits of delight and self satisfaction that he had in some way influenced the entire event. I was watching Master10’s face however and realised there was something more to the story. 

At my promoting Master10 elaborated, they had, um, interpreted the feed the chicken move in a bit of a ‘bad’ way he admitted, going a bit red. MrZ was oblivious, still enjoying his win and self congratulating. What did he mean by bad way, I asked, as it started to dawn on me where this was going. Master10 stood up to demonstrate the feed the chicken move, modified slightly to become something quite obscene (or a back and forth hand motion in front of his crotch). I watched in horror for a moment, which quickly turned to delight as MrZ’s laughter trailed off to silence as he raised what had happened. It was my turn to laugh animatedly, mostly at MrZ’s sheepish face, “Oh yeah, you influenced the whole disco for sure, and I bet the parents and teachers just LOVE you!”

Why we shouldn’t judge

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Why we shouldn’t judge

I got my first discipline related call from the new high school yesterday. I can’t tell you how stressful I find these calls.

Everything had been quiet in the first seven weeks, although admittedly Master13 had been off sick for almost two weeks due to a bad run with illness this winter. I have been checking in with him regularly and while after a few weeks his depressive mood seemed to be lifting he still spoke of not having been able to make a friend. They are all friendly he said, but they say he doesn’t look happy in their company, maybe he would be happier if he made other friends. 

“They are not like me”, he says, “I don’t know what to say to them, they are not into the same things I’m into”. This is typical spectrum sort of stuff, there is typically a narrow range of interest and combine that with social awkwardness it becomes hard for them to make friends. He was clearly upset by Master10 spending last Saturday afternoon with his new friend; Master13 was jealous, it all seems to come so easily to Master10. To my delight however, on Monday afternoon Master13 asked if he could have a friend come over after school this Wednesday, the day that school finishes a little early each week. Maybe his jealously had promoted him to make a little bit more effort to reach out to a potential friend? I was relieved, this was definitely a step in the right direction.

It was the following day that I got the phone call. Master13 had been mucking around in class with a friend the day before, things had gotten a little out of hand and a pencil had been snapped and a child scratched on the arm with it. This is so typical a pattern, Master13 gets a friend and gets a little silly in his over excitement and something happens. Apparently the mother of this child had rung the school very upset about her son having been “assaulted” and wanted something done about it. The school counsellor assured me that he had inspected the mark and questioned both kids and it appeared to be nothing more than a bit of typical teenage boy rough-housing to him, but he was yet to know what the consequences were going to be (at the last school he would have had an immediate suspension). My heart sank. Here we were again, same place, my son being labeled and me probably being judged, the mother of “that” child, and “that” child’s heart would be aching, again. All he wants is to fit in.

There was part of me that was a bit frustrated and angry too. Surely Master13 had learnt something after everything we had been through at the last school, how could we be back here in this place, if the boy’s mother had been so upset and used a word like “assaulted” then it had to be more than a little rough-housing. The counsellor understood my concern, he assured me there was barely a mark, it seems the mother has a tenancy to overreact according to the son who was equally upset that the whole thing had escalated to this point. The counsellor said he would call the mum and see if he could smooth it over. Great, I thought, when Master13 finally makes a friend it has to be the precious son of an over-involved, helicopter mother.

A short while later the counsellor called back to explain the problem to me. This was the third school for the boy this year, the family had escaped an alcoholic and abusive father several years ago and had moved regularly since. The idea of someone hurting her son was too close to the bone, she admitted she overreacted. He didn’t say but I’m sure he had explained Master13’s Aspergers to her and he assured me she was now okay with the boys still catching up after school. I was relieved, for everyone’s sake. I was concerned too though, so I asked a few questions. Apparently there are four children, at times they have been in a shelter, the boy is the eldest and probably carries the most burden in terms of supporting his mother who is struggling. The counsellor explained that it’s difficult to imagine what she/they might have been though but I should try to see it from her perspective. No, I said, it’s not so difficult, I’ve had my own personal experience in this area although not to that extent, but I understand more than most. My heart went out to her.

For me this is a reminder that we should never judge people, we have no idea what issues they are dealing with, what they have been through or are recovering from. Master13 has complained of being hungry after school lately, he’s been sharing his food with a friend. I think I’ll pack him a little extra every day from now on.